If you have a number of miles about to expire, then do not rush out and spend them on stuff you may not need, why don’t you donate miles to charity instead?

“These miles are making a difference,” says Tish Stropes, who runs Hero Miles. Run by the Maryland-based Fisher House Foundation, Hero Miles uses donated miles to fly family members to visit wounded members of the military.

Most of the biggest airlines and hotel chains have their own charity donation programs that benefit from donations of miles. All of these programs are partnered with a list of other organizations that can benefit and these include cancer research.

On average the size of the donation is 25,000 miles, about half the total amount that the average charity requires to buy a round trip domestic fare. But with some airlines, you can donate as little as 1,000 miles in order to do some good.

A large number of airlines now offer ways in which members of their frequent flier incentives to donate miles. Your first port of call, should be the airlines website, where you may be able to donate online, or if not they will have their contact details in order to donate by phone or mail.

It can be as easy as entering your membership number and the amount of miles you wish donate, there is usually a minimum amount that you can donate and this varies from as little as a 1,000 points or less, up to 10,000 points or more, it all depends on the charity in question.

There are a large number of different charities available to donate to but there is one that all airlines have got behind recently. All major airlines are supporting Make-A-Wish, a charity that helps to fulfill children’s wishes.

Hero Miles is a different option and one you are likely to discover on your airlines list of charities despite only being formed in 2008. There are now eight airlines that offer Hero Miles and it is expanding quickly.

You need to remember however that you will not be able to get a tax deduction when donating miles, and miles donations are not refundable. All charities need travel and many really are dependent on it. So if you have a stack of unused miles or travel rewards and you want to help a charity then find a charity that would be grateful for your contribution and donate to them.